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Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures
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VIETNAM VETERAN SUCUMBED TO AGENT ORANGE CANCER: Lompoc guitarist, singer battled cancer for four years

May 17, 2011

Lompoc guitarist, singer battled cancer for four years

“A lot of people would have given up. He said, ‘I want to get better. I want to be a grandpa.’’’

It wasn’t the smoke, but a malignant tumor that was pushing on his vocal chords, Wild said then.

He identified it as squamous cell carcinoma, the kind often linked to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Wild knew how to fight. An Army infantryman, he had fought in the jungles of Vietnam. His throat cancer went into remission in March 2008, but the same type of cancer showed up in his lung nearly two years later. The lung cancer, diagnosed in January 2010, went into remission in August that year, but returned this January.

By then, Wild had been living with a feeding tube from a separate medical problem. After the throat cancer had gone into remission, and Wild’s condition seemed to be improving, doctors discovered a bleeding ulcer in his stomach that nearly cost him his life, Brown said.

“He was a highly decorated veteran. He was a machine-gunner in the Army,” Lemmon said. “He was also in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange. “He would get angry when he was thinking about the way people treated Vietnam veterans, but he never let that show in public.”

“I was just shocked when Shelby called and gave me the bad news about Jonathan,” he said. “He struck everybody as a really fine American and a patriot. He loved entertaining and he loved being with kids. He gave so much of himself. Oh, what a loss. What a loss.”

Jaime Wild said her husband never stopped having nightmares about Vietnam. On occasion he would talk to her about his experiences.

“He knew that if he needed to talk, or wanted to talk, I was always ready to listen. He knew that if people hadn’t been there it would be a hard thing to understand,” she said. “The nightmares continued with him. Until the day he died, he still had nightmares.”

 

Legacy of Our Veterans' Military Exposures
  1. Kennie Thompson Reply

    Jamie, so sorry for your loss.  I pretty much understand the journey your husband with through with the throat cancer and Agent Orange.  I lost my larynx, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, portion of my lower lip and had some of my prostate shaved off.  The first bout of throat cancer was "cured" after 7 1/2 months of chemo and radiation…..when it came back, stage 4 I had to have a bunch of stuff removed.  It was agony for myself and my dear wife…..fortunately (?) I've survived it all but unknown just where IT will show up next.  Also got some diabetes out of my 1966-67 tour in exotic nam. 
    There is nothng I can say that'll make the battle you guys fought go away.  It'll always be there, just like my scars.  You'll just have to be tough like your husband and hang in there……I'm proud of what he did and I'm just as proud of you for all you did for him.  I salute you both.

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